While some Northern Virginia real estate agents suggest the market might be gradually cooling back to something resembling the pre-pandemic norm, prospective homebuyers are still facing a tough market. Interest rates skyrocketed in 2022, and while the inventory of houses on the market increased between 2021 and 2022, the number is still below what it was before the pandemic, according to a report from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.
“It’s looking very similar to what it was last spring, which is highly competitive,” says Tracey Barrett, a Realtor with Focus on NoVA Real Estate. She says that well-priced homes and homes in good condition, particularly detached single-family houses, are in high demand.
“We just have an absolutely anemic inventory, leading to a very heavily weighted seller’s market,” Barrett says.
What this market means for buyers is that, first, you’ll want to have a good real estate agent on your side to help you navigate the market. It also means that it might take a little more searching to find a property and neighborhood that suits all your needs.
While some of the better-known neighborhoods may not have many affordable options on the market, Northern Virginia is an ever-changing region, full of localities with great potential. According to Northern Virginia real estate agents, these four neighborhoods are some of the best up-and-coming areas in the region.
For walkability and a convenience, Barrett recommends looking into Herndon. “Herndon has been working to reestablish anchor institutions, bars, restaurants, shops, gathering places for everyone. They’ve realty done a good job, and it’s really starting to see a resurgence in demand.”
Those neighborhood institutions make the area great for walkability, and Herndon is close to Reston Town Center, which provides even more shopping, upgraded public spaces, and access to Metro’s Silver Line via the new Reston Town Center station.
Sue Goodhart, a Realtor with the Goodhart Group and Compass Realty, suggests the Seminary Valley neighborhood in the western part of Alexandria. “Given that Landmark Mall will be undergoing a major transformation, the west end of Alexandria will be blossoming,” she says. The Landmark Mall renovation plans to establish a walkable, urban area with new residential buildings, office space, and new retail offerings — a change that is expected to bring a lot of interest to the area.
Goodhart also notes that Seminary Valley is one of the most affordable neighborhoods of single-family homes in Alexandria, with an average closing price of $750,000 for a three- or four-bedroom home.
Potomac Yard is a neighborhood in Alexandria, close to the southeast side of Arlington County. Realtor Kate Herzig with EXP Realty says that this is a neighborhood that homebuyers should watch, especially now that the new Potomac Yard Metro station is open.
“Development of Potomac Yard’s almost 300 acres brings tremendous opportunity to own a home in an area primed for growth and urban living,” says Herzig. “I think this location is a sweet spot for access to DC, Amazon HQ2, Del Ray, and Old Town Alexandria, with the bonus of an amazing network of parks and transportation.”
Herzig advises buyers to act fast when it comes to this neighborhood, as existing inventory is low.
Southern Route 28 Corridor
Barrett says that the southern corridor of Route 28, ranging from the border of Prince William County and through Centreville and Chantilly, is an area with a lot of potential. “That whole corridor is just ripe to pop,” she says. The area serves as a convenient midway point between Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, making it a great location for dual-income households working in different parts of NoVA.
For more stories like this, subscribe to our Real Estate newsletter.